Ontario is reporting another day with more than 3,100 new COVID-19 cases, along with 51 new deaths, as hospitalizations hit a record high and test positivity remained at worrisome levels.

“Locally, there are 778 new cases in Toronto, 614 in Peel, 213 in York Region, 172 in Durham, 151 in Middlesex-London and 151 in Hamilton,” Health Minister Christine Elliott wrote on Twitter.

Ontario reported 3,128 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Ontario reported 3,270 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with 2,964 on Sunday and a record of 3,363 on Saturday.

Provincial labs processed 35,152 test specimens on Tuesday, down 4,000 from Monday.

Test positivity accounting for errors and duplicate tests remained at 9.4 per cent, only slightly lower than on Monday.

Twenty-two of the fifty-one deaths reported Tuesday involved residents of the long-term care system.

One of the deaths was someone between the ages of 20-39.

There are now 25,840 active cases of novel coronavirus infection in Ontario, up from 19,612 a week ago and 15,212 one month ago.

University of Toronto epidemiologist Dr. Colin Furness said that part of the problem has been delayed and sometimes confusing public health messaging from the provincial government in the past month.

“We’ve seen some really confusing press releases and flip flops from the government. Then Dr. Williams was saying in December that we’d be in the green zone by Christmas.”

Instead, he wishes the health leadership would simply tell people “shared air without masks makes people sick,” and so they should act accordingly.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations continue to rise.

There are 1,347 people in hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19 symptoms on Tuesday, up from 1,322 on Monday.

The hospital occupancy on Tuesday is the highest ever recorded since the pandemic began in Ontario.

The Critical Care Services Ontario report says there 369 people in ICUs with COVID-19 across Ontario, with 45 new admissions in the past day.

There are also two children with COVID-19 in the ICU and one newborn baby.

The province says 245 of those ICU patients are breathing with the help of a ventilator.

The worsening picture in the GTA has prompted Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington to admit patients to a field hospital it constructed in April but did not use.

A similar 70-patient field hospital stands ready to accept patients at Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie.

Elsewhere in the GTA, Halton Region reported 128 new cases and Simcoe-Muskoka reported 72 new cases.

Two-hundred and thirty-five of Ontario’s 626 long-term care homes are now considered to be in outbreak, an increase of 19 in the past two days.